Was the draw against Sion caused by bad luck, a lack of preparation, lack of ability or a combination of all of those?
Flat, deflated, disappointed and a lost opportunity are a few of the emotions that come to mind when I think back to our match against Sion.
I think it was safe to say that Sion were more than happy to come over and see out the game with a 0-0 draw or perhaps even a one nil defeat. They must feel confident that they can beat us over there and from the evidence of the game, I think we should be confident of beating them too.
I know it’s hard not to be negative about the result but really it’s not a disaster, we are capable of getting a draw or win over there as long as the players can keep their head and as long as there are no big individual errors on the night.
Never mind all this rubbish about us having a bad European away record, that was a different team from a different era with a different manager. I saw nothing from Sion to suggest that the tie is over, although I think a similar performance to last nights will see us out.
As always, a disappointing result is followed by criticism of the tactics, formation and players so can we say that there is one thing that prevented us from getting the win to take over with us ?
I will go into each of the reasons that I’ve mentioned, however, my biggest thought is that a lack of preparation that has cost us dearly. I don’t mean the physical training of the fit players but the fact is that we have known for long enough that without Gary Hooper and Anthony Stokes both playing and playing well, we are going to struggle for goals.
Now, either Neil Lennon and his scouting network haven’t got around to finding a suitable striker or else they have and the board haven’t got round to buying one. I’m not saying that a striker would have won us the tie but not having anyone who can step in and score goals during Hoopers absence is shooting ourselves in the foot.
As anyone who has read my blogs before will know, I just don’t think big Samaras and Murphy are cutting the mustard so from that point, I have to blame either the scouting network and management or board for us not having a striker who can step in as a back up.
The next thing that has been discussed, mainly by myself and folk round about me at the stadium, is the fact that we started with only one man up front and Stokes playing out wide. Why we have Samaras playing up front and on his own as a target man I don’t know. Regardless of that, 4-5-1 against a team that we should be looking to beat isn’t good enough.
Imagine the outcry if we played against a Scottish opponent at home with one man up front ? The management, rightly, in my opinion, would be criticised for it so I think they must take their share of the blame for the result and performance.
I’ve mentioned bad luck, the fact that we have Glenn Loovens, Emilio Izaguirre, Biram Kayal, Kelvin Wilson and Hooper injured at the same time has got a lot to do with bad luck. You can argue about Loovens but the other four guys are pretty much going to be first choice players in their respective positions.
The next piece of bad luck I think is the Stokes yellow card, now from where I was sitting which happens to be the other end of the pitch, I can think of no reason as to why he would have gone down apart from the fact he was fouled. He looked to have one more touch to get by the keeper and a second touch to knock the ball into the net.
The final point that I have made in my introduction is lack of ability. Looking at the Sion players, I can’t say that there was many of them who stood out as looking like excellent players and I am sure their management and fans will probably be thinking the same about us after watching the match.
Yes, it’s only one game but based on that one game, I can’t see that there’s a big gap so ability can’t really be blamed.
As much as it is disappointing not to have got the job done, I think it’s safe and reasonable to suggest that, if we play with more than one man forward we could do the damage.
I would possibly think that Paddy McCourt should be given a start – I feel it’s unfair on Paddy when he gets thrown in with less than 10 minutes of the game remaining and is expected to turn the game on it’s head.
Players sometimes need time to settle into a game and Paddy is almost never given that chance.
Here’s hoping for a good confidence boosting goal against St Johnstone on Sunday followed by a score draw or a win over in Switzerland. With a bit of luck Georgios Samaras can get on the score sheet at the weekend as I think it’s safe to say he will be playing against Sion if Hooper is still out so a goal will do his confidence the world of good.
On a side note, why do people insist on booing Samaras? I am not a fan of his at all but is booing him likely to make him improve his performance? At the end of the day, the fans go to support the team and he’s part of the team so it’s time to stop behaving like Rangers fans and support the team – we’ve been recognised by others as the best fans in the world so lets start showing it.
CLICK HERE for Sion star taunts Fraser Forster
CLICK HERE for players and supporters twitter reaction to Sion game